Who DIDN'T Elf themself this season?
OfficeMax's wildly-popular ELF YOURSELF campaign enjoyed a second smash season in 2007. I hear you (and my boss, and myself) ... "Quantify that!"
Okay. How about: >110,000,000 visitors? Pretty quant, right? In the spirit of full transparency, I must admit that I was personally responsible for a handful of those visits. And here's the evidence.
The simplicity of this program reminds me of another holiday hit, Nintendo's Wii. This device is ridiculously low-tech when it comes to graphics and game complexity. But, it is exactly this simplicity that enables other parts of the product to be so successful. ELF YOURSELF relies on simple graphics, extremely limited customer involvement, etc. to make it an easy-to-use success.
According to an interesting article from Mediaweek.com, "Their secret: Keep it dead simple, make it personal and give people a reason to pass it on. These sites might not win awards or wow other creative directors, but they draw big audiences by eschewing the urge to add on features and functions."
The article goes on to cite another example of a very simple viral winner: "New York technology firm Oddcast has an enviable record of creating Web viral winners. In addition to developing "Doggie Mail" for Purina, it worked with CareerBuilder and agency Cramer-Krasselt to create an earlier version, "Monk-e-Mail," which let users send talking chimps featured in CareerBuilder TV spots. The site attracted 25 million visitors. " Full disclosure again (blush). I kinda' went wild with the Monk-e-mail when it first hit, so some of that 25,000,000 was me.
Viral B2B Marcom is incredibly powerful. There are lessons here for us all.